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Full text of "The Thoreau Society Bulletin"

Thoreau Society 
Bulletin 



ISSN 0040-6406 



Number 225 



Fall 1998 



True Fugitives: On Tomas Transtrdmer and Thoreau HennkCustafssonandNikiasScNbier 



Arguably the nation's leading poet, 
Tomas Transtromer (1931- ) is also 
Sweden's most acclaimed writer 
abroad. His volumes of poetry have been 
translated into nearly fifty languages, and 
he has been named by Joseph Brodsky, 
Derek Walcott and most recently Wislawa 
Szymborska as a prime candidate for the 
Nobel Prize in literature. 'To date, his 
^national and international awards include 
'the Swedish Pilot Prize (1988), the Nordic 
Council's Prize for Literature (1990), 
Germany's Petrarch Prize (1981), and the 
Neustadt International Prize for Literature 
(1990). Transtromer's poetry has also 
drawn considerable critical attention. In 
Sweden there are a number of book-length 
studies of his work, while internationally a 
score of distinguished journals have pro- 
filed Transtromer's poetry. In the United 
States, for example, issues of Ironwood 
(1979:13) and World Literature Today 
(1990:4) have been devoted entirely to 
articles on and translations of 
Transtromer. In 1985 a dissertation on his 
poetry was presented at Berkeley: Joanna 
Bankier's The Sense of Time in the Poetry of 
Tomas Transtrdmer. 

Dividing his time between Vasteras 
and the secluded island of Runmaro in 
Sweden's Baltic archipelago, Transtromer 
practiced for many years as a psychologist 
beside his literary work. In 1990 he suf- 
fered a stroke, effectively disarming his 
speech yet failing to silence his poetic 
Jvoice. In 1996 his latest volume of poetry, 
Sorgegondolen (The Sorrow Gondola), was 
released to unanimous acclaim. 

What is the character of Transtromer's 



poetry? A few broad generalizations might 
be attempted^ with the caveat that they 
inevitably reduce to content what is also 
form. Transtromer has long been a poet of 
-sceneries wherein ordinary events and 
natural surroundings are visualized with 
remarkable insight and compression. His 
poetry is also infused, however, with 
mysteriousness and liberating epipha- 
nies — somewhat akin to what American 
psychologist Abraham H. Maslow has called 
"peak experience." A recurrent theme is 
thus a quest for clarity (even, perhaps, for 
transcendence) that is often carried through 
by giddily daring metaphor. It is perhaps 
not surprising, given these inclinations, that 
Transtromer should display a keen interest 
in Henry Thoreau. 

In his 1954 debut 17 dikter (17 Poems), 
Transtromer dedicates a poem to Thoreau. 
It is interesting both as an instance of 
reception and as a poem in its own right. 
Below we present a translation of "Fern 
strofer till Thoreau," followed by a discus- 
sion of the poem's traits and background: 1 

Five Stanzas to Thoreau 

Yet another has left the heavy town's 
ring of ravenous stones. Crystal and salty 
is the water merging round the heads of all 
true fugitives. 

Here in a slow swirl silence has risen 
from earth's midst, to take root and grow 
and with bushy crown shadow the man's 
sunwarm doorstep. 

The foot absently kicks a fungus. A thunder- 
cloud swells on the horizon. Like copper horns 



twisted treeroots sound and leaves 
scatter in fright. 

Autumn's headlong chase is his light cloak, , 
flapping until again from frost and ashes 
calm days have come in flock to bathe their 
claws in spring. ... 

Disbelieved goes the one who has seen a geyser, 
fled the stagnant well like Thoreau and knowing 
thus to vanish deep in inner verdure, 

cunning and hopeful. 

continued on page 3 



In This Issue 

2 Editor's Column 

Michael Berger 

5 President's Column 

Elizabeth Witherell 

6 Notes & Queries 
8 Curator's Column 

..Susan Godlewski 



9 Oliver's "Going to Walden" 

A..i« /. John Chamberlain 



1 Thoreau and Houghton 

Mifflin Wesley T. Mott 

Encyclopedia of American 

Poetry Joel Myerson 

I I Additions to the 
-Thoreau Bibliography 

Michael Berger 

1 2 Calendar 



Editor's Column 



Michael Berger 



Since this is the first issue of the Bulletin 
under my editorship, I will step out 
from behind the editor's royal. "we" and 
say a few words of personal greeting. 

The Thoreau Society Bulletin, and the 
Thoreau Society, are said to be the longest 
running entities of their kind devoted to 
an American literary figure. Throughout 
this century there has been an enduring 
and growing interest in Henry D. Thoreau. 
There are various good reasons for this 
continuing response and enthusiasm. 
I will note a few. 

There is, of course, the beauty and 
grace of Thoreau's writing. His writing 
also calls forth a lively introspection and 
examination of one's own life and of the 
health and ways of the society in which 
one lives. It is impossible to enjoy 
Thoreau's words for long in the abstract. 
He speaks to urgent questions of how to 
live and what to live for very pointedly and 
at the same time elegantly. Legion are the 
people he deeply influenced who have 
then shaped the world in significant ways, 
such as Gandhi, King and Carson, and 
many others. His voice is sometimes diffi- 
cult to hear, but if one ever feels scolded or 
judged, one also feels that here is a fellow 
who takes a lively interest in the most 
important things for the best reasons, 
which is a kind of ultimate respect a writer 
can pay a reader. If he does not always 
make the most affable society, he is reliably 
the best companion for the best in us. 
Wherever a human being fronts essential 
facts, other human beings will be interested 
in the report. Thoreau fronted lots of 
them, and gave a fair report of much of 
what he saw. His hardy independence and 
cussedness against the conventional grain 
are healthy tonics. And yet, his earnestness 
is also redeemed by sparkling wit and good 
humor. His diving deep into spiritual 
pilgrimage stimulates and encourages. His 
insight into environmental and ecological 
problems and dynamics was amazingly 
prescient and is increasingly pertinent. His 
philosophical importance has not been 
sufficiently noted: he was, among other 
things, a serious scientific researcher who 
also maintained a poet's outlook and 
voice, and his grappling with the tensions 
and problems involved in striving to do 



justice to both was courageous and quite 
suggestive for us today when the methods 
and products of science are increasingly 
dominant cultural forces. In all this, 
Thoreau shows ways to right some of the 
deep imbalances of modern culture and to 
heal some of its ills, and to celebrate and 
cultivate some of the inherent possibilities 
of human life in any cultural context. 

For these and other reasons, I'm 
delighted to take on the editing of the 
Thoreau Society Bulletin. Like many mem- 
bers of the Society, I first read Thoreau's 
words in my youth. I caught the bug, 
appropriately, reading Walden during one 
of many family camping trips to the 
woods. I am if anything more impressed as 
time flies by with the beauty of Thoreau's 
artistry and the importance of Thoreau's 
message to the world. 

Some can spend a lifetime studying 
Thoreau and still not be satisfied that 
they've plumbed the depths of what he 
meant by his life and writings. One who 
did devote a lifetime to Thoreau studies 
was the late Walter Harding, the longtime 
editor of this bulletin and guiding spirit of 
the Thoreau Society. There is seemingly no 
one alive today with Walter's depth and 
breadth of knowledge about Thoreau and 
for that reason, and because he was a 
splendid human being, he is dearly missed. 
Although I cannot hope to aspire to 
Walter Harding's funds of knowledge, I 
am acutely aware of his long association 
with this bulletin as its magisterial editor, 
and do hope to take inspiration and 
guidance from his accomplishments and 
example. I'd also like to recognize the 
indefatigable Brad Dean, whom Walter 
entrusted with the editorship when he 
stepped down from it, and who has done 
and is doing so much to disperse knowl- 
edge about Thoreau's previously unknown 
late natural history writings, chiefly by the 
agency of books, Web sites, and talks. Tom 
Harris, the Society's sedulous Executive 
Director-of-all-things-at-once, has pitched 
in to sustain the Bulletin in the transition 
and will continue to be a great help as I get 
going as editor. I'm grateful to Tom, and 
to Karen Merrill, our Graphic Designer 
and Illustrator, and the other good folks 
whose hard work and careful contribu- 



tions produce the Bulletin. 

I hope this bulletin will continue to 
serve in important ways by acting as an 
organ for the flow of information and 
communication between members of the 
Thoreau Society, and by publishing brief 
but significant pieces of scholarship and 
thoughtful reflection, as well as keeping 
tabs on scholarship and journalism about 
Thoreau as these continue to flourish. 
_The regular features of the Bulletin you are 
used to will continue, and I hope to be 
able to bring you an interesting array of 
articles with each issue. There will be a 
regular flow of information for purposes 
of Society housekeeping and development; 
regular columns by the President, the 
Curator of the collections of the Thoreau 
Institute, the Director of the Media Center 
at the Thoreau Institute, and the Director 
of Education Programs at the Institute; 
occasional updates from the Publications 
Committee, book reviews, and Notes from 
Thoreau Country with information about 
preservation and conservation efforts in 
Concord and other places associated with 
Thoreau; as well as the Calendar, the Notes^ 
and Queries section, and Additions to the 
Thoreau Bibliography in each issue, and 
other occasional features. 

I heartily thank President Beth 
Witherell and the members of the Board 
for entrusting me with this pleasant duty. 
I will try to carry it out in a professional 
manner, but also in the true amateur 
spirit, which is to say (turning to the root 
meaning of the word, as Thoreau so often 
does) with love for the subject and love for 
the work. 

And so, for now I will retire back 
behind the anonymous editorial "we" and 
wish you all good reading, of the Bulletin 
and especially of HDT. 



Could a greater miracle 
take place than ror us to 
look through each other s 
eyes for an instant? 

vvu/aen 



True Fugitives, from page 1 



First published in 1951 as a contribu- 
tion to BLM (Bonnier 's Literary Journal), 
the poem has since undefgone a reduction 
from eight stanzas to five — to trim away 
"juvenile sections" as Transtromer has 
stated. 2 The original title had an evident 
Horatian ring: "Ode to Thoreau," and 
while Transtromer later opted to drop this 
title he did retain the meter: the verse in 
Swedish is Sapphic in both versions. (We 
have not attempted a rendition in Sapphic 
above.) 

According to Transtr5mer's own testi- 
mony, he was first alerted to Thoreau via 
Frans^G. Bengtsson's Swedish translation 
of Walden, which had initially been pub- 
lished in 1924 to a small audience. In 1947, 
however, a new edition was presented. 3 
Walden now appeared with woodcuts by 
Stig Asberg, and the forty-page foreword 
by Bengtsson — comprising the latter's 
Master's thesis on Thoreau and the 
Transcendentalists — was retained from the 
first issue. The foreword was positive, even 
panegyrical, and served particularly to 
contrast Thoreau with Emerson: philo- 
sophically, stylistically, practically— and all 
kto Thoreau's favor. The new edition 
"caught the young Transtrdmer's attention, 
and fueled an intense interest in Thoreau. 

What- does Transtromer's poem to 
Thoreau convey? To begin with, it pur- 
posely gives only a deflected portrait. 
Thoreau does not appear as a corporeal 
self, and neither does the portrayed envi- 
ronment strive for identity with Concord. 
Rather, the poem progresses by likeness 
and inspiration: the escape from civiliza- 
tion, the immersion in woodland and pure 
water, the meditation by a sunny 
doorstep — all recall Thoreau's Walden 
experiences as depicted in his book, 
approaching but not claiming paraphrase. 4 
Another important tangency is the season- 
al progression, which closely resembles 
that of Walden. The second stanza of the 
poem hints at a spring scenery, with lush 
foliage shadowing the man under it. The 
third stanza then abruptly ushers in 
autumn (perhaps due to a mistaken kick), 
as leaves are scattered. The fourth stanza, 
finally, establishes the reign of autumn 
until the return of spring. 

The reader will note that a dramatic 
swerve occurs in the third stanza. The 
calm, even serene succession of events 
described earlier is here abruptly jolted by 



a seemingly innocent act. The careless vio- 
lence to a fungus apparently causes the sur- 
rounding environment to cry foul, thus 
eliciting a parallel reaction on a larger scale: 
wind tears, leaves fall, and autumn arrives 
like an Angel of Death. One critic has even 
suggested that the fungus and thunder- 
cloud allude to the billowing cloud of a 
nuclear explosion. 5 While this may be a 
tendentious extrapolation, a crisis of some 
magnitude is obviously unleashed at this 
point (and it might well allude to a danger- 
ously careless attitude toward .nature). The 
crisis is only soothed in the closing stanzas, 
when spring returns and the poem's 
persona regains faith in an "inner verdure," 
a faith effectively depicted as the geyser 
contrasted with the stagnant well: 

The importance of place, of a source 
and pivot-ground, comes across strongly 
in both Walden and Transtromer's poem. 
In an interview at Runmaro in 1972, 
Transtromer maintained that 

. I have a notion that every person 
has a center of gravity in a given 
place. Like a marble that rolls 
around until it finds the deepest 
point where it can rest. For me that 
place is here. When I stand on this 
bridge looking out over the water, I 
feel that this is my starting point. 6 

In most of Transtromer's poems 
geography is utilized without reference to 
specific map names or spatial boundaries. 
It is generalized and objectified, yet with- 
out loss of descriptive precision. In "Five 
Stanzas to Thoreau" elements of three dis- 
tinct landscapes are included. Thoreau's 
Walden environment blends with 
Transtromer's autobiographical Runmaro: 
both are surrounded by woods and water 
(Runmaro's water, however, is salty) and 
both are centered by a simple wooden 
cottage. Furthermore, traces of a 
Transtromer journey to Iceland in 1951 
may be seen in the likening of roots to 
"copper horns" in the third stanza, and 
more obviously by the geyser in the fifth. 

Indirect portraiture and landscape 
affinities notwithstanding, Transtromer's 
poem gains much of its impetus and 
coherency by appropriating Thoreau's 
philosophy and rhetorical method of per- 
suasion. It thus operates in large measure 
by positing opposites: country versus 



town; life versus death (in the spring- - 
greenery as against the frost and ashes of 
autumn and winter); growth versus stag- 
nancy (the swirling, spurting water of a 
geyser and the expansion of greenery as 
contrasted to the frost and stagnant, rocky 
well); receptivity (to the gifts of nature) 
versus ravenousness; faith versus disbelief. 
Further, an organic correspondence 
between man and nature is* established by 
the poem's strategy of both humanizing 
nature (stanzas 1 and 3) and naturalizing 
the human (stanzas 4 and 5). Nature's 
agency gives man access to his "inner 
verdure," where everything connects and 
corresponds. The threat to this unity is 
caused by an absence of proper human 
empathy toward nature and the natural. "- 

Transtromer's affinity with Thoreau's 
thinking, however, is arguably made most 
explicit in the three "apocryphal" stanzas 
from the first version of the poem. A since 
deleted second stanza evokes the difficulty 
of radical dissent within established 
bounds. Much like the protagonist of 
Walden, it raises natural/rhetorical 
barriers ("sunsmoke" and "wood's edge") 
to ward off the constrictions of society: -- 

Sunsmoke stands by wood's edge, far from 
these thorny trees of social life where many 
pairs of pioneer's wings have been torn asunder 
without mercy. 

Probably realizing the feebleness of the 
hackneyed images, Transtromer later 
opted to discard these lines. The antithesis 
between a benevolent tree (with "bushy 
crown shadow[ing])" and a metaphorical, 
"thorny" wood was thereby lost. At the 
same time, Transtromer's choice 
enhanced one of the poem's central tenets: 
that of the tree's connotation of contem- 
plative stillness. 

The original sixth and seventh stanzas 
utilize a favorite Thoreauvian image^ — 
ascending smoke — and the largely inti- 
mate character of the preceding stanzas is 
transformed into a public scene: 

People have gathered in cold spring evening 
burning their lungs like leaves in a bonfire 
"air is invisible, thus nonexistent according 
to reason." 



continued on page 4 



True Fugitives, from page 3 

The smoke ascends, yet someone recalls that 
those having lost track in blizzards of blissful 
fire sometimes glimpsed in the mist lean 
quadruped shadows. 

A Walpurgis Night gathering here 
blends the traditional burning of leaves 
with a burning of lungs. While this may 
partly allude to Thoreau's personal fate, it 
is also an indictment of positivistic philos- 
ophy. In the words of distinguished 
Transtromer critic Kjell Espmark, the sixth 
stanza "contains a critique of the narrow- 
minded rationalism that denies what is not 
readily seen .... While a tribute to the 
Transcendentalist Thoreau, it is also a 
discrete contribution to the [then] lively 
Swedish debate over religion, and an 
intimation of the nature-lover's faith in a 
divinity as evident as the air." 7 To the 
grounding of this faith one might add the 
geyser, which in the following stanza 
stands as a prime example of a reality at 
once elusive and readily apparent. 

Granted that the sixth stanza can be 
read as a refutation of the anti-metaphysi- 
cal, the compact seventh shows how some 
of the rationalistic disbelievers around the 
flames cannot entirely ignore what lies 
latent "in the mist," whether this be a 
surprising and vigorous geyser or a more 
threatening power. The latter's ominous- 
ness is indicated by the wolf-like 
"quadruped shadows." (The reader will 
also note the oxymoron "blizzards of bliss- 
ful fire" in this passage, which recalls a 
favorite Thoreauvian rhetorical device, the 
paradox. 8 ) 



Transtromer's poem to Thoreau is 
naturally not an original effort. There have 
been scores of poems (even volumes of - 
poetry) written in his honor. What 
perhaps places Transtromer's poem in a 
minority group is its incorporation of 
crisis. It does not rest content to assess 
Thoreau and his achievements from a 
historical vantage, or resort to doggerel 
panegyrics: Instead it presents a struggle 
with problems and opportunities still alive 
to us today. That Thoreau helped alert us 
to them is without doubt. Under such 
circumstances, the deflected portrait is 
surely appropriate. For while we have 
listened, we" have still to front our facts; 
still to front the Thoreau urging us to 
consider them. How should we dare look 
him in the face?" 

1. Earlier translations have been made by 

Grace Hunter in The Western Humanities 
Review (1954:2), 86; by Robin Fulton in 
Tomas Transtromer: Collected Poems 
(Oxford: Bloodaxe Books, 1987), 22;and by 
May Swenson in Tomas Transtromer: 
Selected Poems 1954-1986, transl. Robert Bly 
et al., ed. Robert Hass (New York: Ecco 
Press, 1987), 6. In all cases but Hunter's the 
standard five-stanza version is presented. 

2. Information on the poem's genesis and the 
author's relationship to Thoreau was given 
in interview. (Transtromer to Niklas 
Schioler in late May and early June, 1998.) 

3. Skogsliv vid Walden (Stockholm: Wahlstrom 
6k Widstrand, 1924 and 1947). Bengtsson 
(1894-1954) was a scholar and translator 
with a marked interest in American and 
English literature. He was soon diverted 



from this field, however, by a remarkable 
success as writer of historical novels and 
essays. He did not write on Thoreau beyond 
his Master's thesis, though a famed passage 
on an ant battle in a later essay clearly 
recalls the insect skirmish in Walden. 

4. A sentence early in the "Sounds" chapter of 

Walden amply illustrates the various tan- 
gencies: "Sometimes, in a summer morning, 
having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in 
my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, 
rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hick- 
ories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude 
and stillness." Quoteo from Walden, ed. J. 
Lyndon Shanley (Princeton: Princeton 
Univ. Press, 1971), 111. 

5. See Magnus Ringgren's "De tva ensamheter- 

na. Kring en linje i Tomas Transtromers 
lyrik," in Tidskrift (1977:4), 26. 

6. From an interview by Ake Lundqvist in 

DagensNyheter of July 22, 1972. 

7. Quoted from Espmark's Resans formler. En 

studie i Tomas Transtromers poesi 
(Stockholm: Norstedts, 1983), 183. 

8. See, for a similar example, Thoreau's "A 
Winter Walk," where "the snowlies warm 
as cotton or down upon the window sill." 
Quoted from The Portable Thoreau, ed. Carl 
Bode (New York: Penguin Books, 1985), - 
57-58. 

[Editor's note: Henrik Gustafsson's article, 
"Henry Thoreau and the Advent of American 
Rail, " appears in the Fall 1 997 Concord 
Saunterer.] — 



1 999 Annual Gathering -'■';.' 

July 8-1 I, 1999 • Concord, MA 

Join Thoreauvians from around the world for a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first publications of 
"Civil Disobedience" and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. 

Main Speaker: Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas Gandhi 

We are currently working on the workshop schedule for the 1999 Annual Gathering. If you would like to 

present your original research on "Civil Disobedience," A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, or the 

influence of "Civil Disobedience" on social movements, please send a brief proposal to Tom Harris, Executive 

Director, The Thoreau Society, 44 Baker Farm, Lincoln, MA 01773-3004; by fax to (781) 259-4760; or by 

e-mail to ThoreauSociety@walden.org. 



President's Column 



Elizabeth Witherell 



Tom Harris received 326 votes on the 
proposed bylaws: 302 members voted 
in favor and 15 were opposed; 9 ballots 
could not be counted because they did not 
contain a vote. The Board of Directors has 
voted unanimously to accept these new 
bylaws, so they are now in effect. Bylaws 
are always a work in progress: at the next 
Board meeting, in January, I will establish 
a Bylaws Committee to receive and discuss 
suggestions about the bylaws. 

I know that I've filled a good deal of 
space in this column in the last year 
discussing the governance of the Society- 
bylaws, voting, nominations, committees. 
It's more fun for me to write about 
Thoreau, and I imagine it's more fun for 
you to read about him, too. But sharing the 
work of running the Society with the mem- 
bers is a high. priority, and we're all learn- 
ing together what's involved in the proce- 
dures established by the new bylaws. I'm 
sure that after we've gone once through 
these procedures they'll become routine 
, and we'll all take less notice of them. 

The call for nominees for the 
Committee on Nominations and Elections 
produced four excellent candidates, as you 
will have seen by now. Please take the time 
to read the nominees' statements and 
choose three for the committee, and then 
mail your marked ballot back to the 



Thoreau Society by December 18. The 
Board will choose two of its own members 
for this committee, to bring the total com- 
mittee size to five; Tom Harris will provide 
staff support. 

This Committee on Nominations and 
Elections will create the slate for the 1999 
elections, and they will need your help in 
doing so. Six positions on the Board of 
Directors will be open: four members of 
the Board complete their terms, in 1999 
and the Board vated in July to add two 
new members. 

The Committee will issue a call for 
nominations, and it's not too early to 
begin thinking about whom you might 
want to nominate. My column in the 
Spring 1998 Bulletin, which describes the 
work of the current Board, will give you an 
idea of the skills the Society needs in its 
Board members. In addition to being dedi- 
cated to the Society's mission to stimulate 
interest in and foster education about the 
life, works, and philosophy of Thoreau, a 
Board member must be able to travel to 
Concord twice a year at his or her own 
expense, and must be able to contribute to 
the operations and services of the Society. 
We now have a very active publications 
program; in addition to the Annual 
Gathering in Concord, we hold special 
events; we have a successful business oper- 



ation in the Shop at Walden Pond; and we 
contribute to the Thoreau Institute's edu- 
cation program. As you think about good 
candidates for Board positions, keep these 
efforts in mind. You may nominate your- 
self Or someone else. 

I'm very pleased to announce that with 
this issue, Mike Berger takes over the edi- 
torship of the Bulletin. This publication 
has a history of capturing its editors — 
Walter Harding established it in 1941 and 
edited it for fifty years, and Brad Dean has 
been the editor since the Summer 1991 
issue. I hope Mike will find himself 
enthralled as well, and will enjoy his work 
as much as Walt did and Brad has. 

As I welcome Mike, who has intro- 
duced himself in another column in this 
issue, I want to take the opportunity to 
thank Brad for his dedication to the 
Thoreau Society and particularly to Walt's 
idea of a publication that would commu- 
nicate with Thoreauvians everywhere. In 
Walt's last column, he wrote that he 
looked forward to the improvements he 
knew Brad would bring to the Bulletin: if 
you look at a run" of Bulletins from 1991 to 
the present, you'll see that the face of the ■ 
publication has become more modern and 
that photographs have been added, but 
that Walt's spirit continues to be honored 
in the tone and content. 



Sometimes a mortal feels in himself Nature, not his Father but his Mother stirs within him, and he 
becomes immortal with her immortality. From time to time she claims kindredship with us, and some globule 

from her veins steals up into our own. 

I am the autumnal sun, 

With autumn gales my race is run; 

When will the hazel put forth its flowers, 

Or the grape ripen under my bowers? 

When will the harvest or the hunter's moon, 

Turn my midnight into mid-noOn? 

I am all sere and yellow, 

And to my core mellow. 

The mast is dropping within my woods, 

The winter is lurking within my moods, 

And the rustling of the withered leaf 

Is the constant music of my grief 

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers 






Notes and Queries 



The following letter came from Marjorie 
Harding following the Grand Opening of 
the Thoreau Institute. 

"I would like to thank Mr. Don Henley, 
Ms. Kathi Anderson, Mr. Brad Dean and 
all the others who made the Thoreau 
Institute possible. I am sure that my Hus- 
band, Walter Harding, would be very 
happy in the permanent home that his 
research papers and books have found and 
it would not have been possible without 
the vision of Don Henley and for that I am 
very grateful. The gala opening on Friday 
was an experience unmatched by any other 
in my life and I wish that Walt had been 
alive to see it. I thought the video, 
Remembering Walt, was marvelous and I 
would like to thank all the many, many . 
people who made all that possible." 

The Thoreau Institute held an open house 
on Sunday, 18 October. Two hundred fifty 
local residents toured the new research 
facility and talked with staff. 

Robert Galvin reports that the Boston 
Athenaeum now stocks recorded books 
and it has a copy of Kenneth Cameron's 
American Great Ones/Hawthorne, Emerson 
and Thoreau, donated by the author. He 
also reports that a real estate agent in his 
neck of the woods is advertising a house in 
Wayland, Massachusetts, at-$l,285,000, 
which property is supposedly "mentioned 
in Thoreau's Journals of 1851." As Bob is 
not currently in the market for any house 
costing more than $28,125, he hasn't 
bothered to check the reference. 

Steve Ells of Lincoln, MA mentioned 
that he saw an excellent NH Public TV 
production (15 min — it may have been an 
excerpt) of A Week, produced by NH 
Crossroads series, he. believes. The piece 
was good on multi-level meanings. 

Ralph Black writes that American Poetry 
Review 27:6, Nov.-Dec. 1998, p. 15, prints 
two poems by David Wagoner that 
members might find interesting: "Thoreau 
and the Body" and "Thoreau and the 
Toads." A volume of Thoreau poems in 
the works? Wagoner's last book of poems 
was Walt Whitman Bathing. 



Joel Myerson sent an amusing cartoon 
from the October 16 issue of The Chronicle 
of Higher Education, showing a professor 
and several students seated around a semi- 
nar table. The expressions on the students 
are worth seeing and hard to describe; 
gazing blankly comes to mind, although 
that might not be altogether fair. The 
professor looks up from a piece of paper 
held in his hand and says, *Even if 
Thoreau had had a cellular phone at 
Walden Pond, I'm certain he would have 
used it only in an emergency." 

A tip for savvy traveling American 
Renaissance scholars: "Writer and philoso- 
pher Henry David Thoreau once wrote 
that the present moment is composed of 
the meeting of two eternities, the past and 
the future. At Renaissance Hotels and 
Resorts the present is a perfect blend of 
traditional hospitality and contemporary 
luxury." In proof of which, we have a full- 
page glossy advertisement from the 
Marriott Company, displaying the very 
best in Thoreauvian luxury. 

Katmai Henry David Thoreau, UD, a 
member for many years, is a Chesapeake 
Bay Retriever. He completed the require- 
ments for The American Kennel Club's 
Utility Dog title on June 5 th . The Utility 
Dog title is the highest obedience title 
offered by the AKC. Only about 3 or 4 
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers earn the title in 
any given year. He earned the three quali- 
fying scores in three straight trials between ■ 
May 23 and June 5. Since then, he and his 
owner have been relaxing by swimming in 
Bermuda and hiking portions of the 
Appalachian Trail. Unfortunately, he 
cannot follow In the footsteps of his name- 
sake up Mount Katahdin — dogs are not 
allowed in Baxter State Park. Canine 
members do receive full membership 
benefits but must pay the Individual rate. 

In the October 1998 issue of Sky, Delta Air 
Lines' inflight magazine, a headnote to a 
book excerpt mentions Thoreau. The book 
is North of Now: A Celebration of Country 
and the Soon to Be Gone (The Lyons Press) 
by W. D. Wetherell (with an "e," no rela- 
tion we guess). The excerpted passage 
from the book discusses the Wetherell 



family's adventures in the quiet of TV-less 
living. The editor's headnote ventures the 
following: "One senses that Henry David 
Thoreau — himself of New England, him- 
self a writer and thinker who actively 
excised what he deemed irrelevant to his 
harmonious living — would like this vol- 
ume ... Its essays and meditations are a 
provocative reminder of how short and 
precious the time is, and how important 
the search, to locate what we are most 
likely to hold dear." 

Society member Stefano Paolucci writes 
from Italy about coming across a door in 
the town of Frascati upon which a name- 
plate read "Associazione Culturale Henry 
D. Thoreau." It turns out that the associa- 
tion members who came to the door were 
conscientious objectors inspired by 
Thoreau's essay "Civil Disobedience," and 
that they knew nothing more about the 
work of their society's namesake than this 
essay. The members of the Associazione 
Culturale Henry D. Thoreau were 
surprised to learn that Thoreau had 
authored other works. Stefano observes 
(with some disappointment) that 
Thoreau's reputation in Italy is mainly 
that of a political theorist, and he goes on 
to say that a publisher recently printed 
"Civil Disobedience" and "Life without 
Principle" in its "Anarchists" series. - 

A homegrown American political activist, 
a former president of the SDS (Students 
for a Democratic Society), also hearkens 
back to Thoreau for inspiration and prin- 
ciples. In Todd Gitlin's history/memoir, 
The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage, 
Thoreau is mentioned several times. 

Ed Durbin remembers seeing several years 
ago a copy of plans for building a duplicate 
of Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond. He 
believes it appeared in an issue of Early 
American Lifeor a similar publication, but 
he can no longer find the magazine or the 
plans. Does anyone have or know a source 
for such plans? If so, please contact Mr. 
Durbin at L. Edward Durbin, 620 S. , 
Roberts Rd., Dunkirk, NY 14048-3137; or 
by e-mail to <durbin@cecomet.net>. 

continued on next page 



Notes & Queries, from page 6 

Sigthor Orn Runarsson, a philosophy 
student at the University of Iceland, 
Reykjavik, is writing a B.A. thesis on ■ 
I Thoreau's concept of the Wild, especially 
as it appears in "Walking.'' The author 
would be grateful for any -suggestions for 
books or essays related to this subject. If 
you can help, please write to Sigthor Orn 
Runarsson, Grenibyggo 24, 270. 
Mosfellsbair, Iceland, or by e-mail to 
<johannamos@islandia.is>. Sigthor is also 
translating "Walking" into Icelandic, and 
we hope to see it published some day. 

Further east, in Riga, Valdis Abols, a 
Latvian diplomat, is working on a transla- 
tion of Walden into Latvian. The first 
version is finished, and the translator is 
now busy trying to polish the language. 
This is thought to be the first translation of 
a Thoreau work into Latvian. The transla- 
tor will be grateful for contact with ~ 
American-speakers who can possibly help 
with rendering the delicacies of Thoreau's 
language and style, and in clearing up lin- 
guistic, uncertainties the translator hasn't 
been able to resolve. Mr. Valdis Abols can 
be contacted at Lubanas iela 123-27, LV- 
1021 Riga, Latvia or by e-mail at 
' <herbe@latnet.lv>. 

The debut issue of a new World Wide Web 
magazine, Literary Traveler, entitled "The 
Nature of New England," contained two 
articles about Thoreau that are both linked 
to www.walden.org. This issue of Literary 
Traveler can be found on the Web at www. 
literarytraveler.com/newenglandindex.htm 

The Center for a New American Dream 
issues regular invitations via the Internet to 
look in on and participate in monthly on- 
line conversations about various topics 
related to how we live and what we live for. 
Recent monthly-conversation topics have 
included "Television, Commercialism, 
and Consumption," "The Overspent 
American," "Celebrating the Holidays 
Responsibly," "Simplicity and 
Spirituality," and "Commercialism and 
What We Might Do About It." To sub- 
scribe, just send e-mail to 
majordomo@crest.org and in the body, 
write "subscribe conversation-digest". The 
kickoff statement for the current month's 
' conversation may be sampled on the Web 
at http://www.newdream.org/discuss. A 
$30 annual membership in the Center 
includes subscription to ENOUGH 1-^-A 



Quarterly Journal on Consumption, Quality 
-of Life and the Environment. The Center for 
a New American Dream may be contacted 
via mail at 6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 900, 
Takoma Park, MD 209 12;' by phone at 301 - 
891-3683; by fax at 301-891-3684; and by e- 
mail at newdream@newdream.org. 
Executive Director is Betsy Taylor. 

In a recent issue of an on-line publication 
called Netfuture: Technology and Human 
Responsibility (#79, 27 October 1998), 
whose author, Stephen L. Talbott, pro- 
duces incisive critiques of the fallacies and 
downsides of Internet technology, there is 
a brief discussion of "technological incur- 
sion [s] into modern life," headed by this 
quotation from Thoreau's Journal (21 
January 1853): "Nobody sees the stars 
now. ... Though observatories are multi- 
plied, the heavens receive very little atten- 
tion. The, naked eye may easily see farther 
than the armed. It depends on who looks 
through it. No superior telescope to this 
has been invented. In those big ones the 
recoil is equal to the force of the dis- 
charge." Netfuture, a publication of The 
Nature Institute, is available through free 
subscription on the Web (yes, this is an 
irony but not a disqualifying one; the 
postings are extremely intelligent and 
interesting) at www.oreilly.com/ 
-stevet/netfuture/. New postings occur 
roughly every two weeks. 

Former Thoreau Society member Howard 
Zahniser will be honored November 7, 
1998, when the Zahniser Institute for 
Environmental Studies will be dedicated at 
his alma mater, Greenville College in 
Greenville, Illinois. Keynote speaker for 
the dedication ceremony will be former 
U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisc), 
founder of the original Earth Day and now 
counselor of the Wilderness Society, 
according to Institute Director David D. 
Patrick, Jr. 

Zahniser was the primary author of the 
1964 Wilderness Act, which established 
the National Wilderness Preservation 
System. The Wilderness System now 
protects 104 million acres of wilderness on 
federal public lands. Zahniser served as 
executive secretary and later executive 
director of the Wilderness Society from 
1945 to his death in 1964. Zahniser served 
as honorary president of the Thoreau 
Society for 1956-1957. As editor of Living 



Wilderness magazine, he worked closely 
with the late Walter Harding to promote 
protection for Walden Pond and environs. 
(For more on Howard Zahniser, see the 
article by his son Ed Zahniser, '"In 
Wildness' To Wilderness — and Now Back 
Again?" in the Spring 1998 Thoreau Society . 
Bulletin.) 

The Institute was established in 1995 
and located on the Greenville College 
campus. Among its goals are to educate in 
the areas of sustainable use and manage- 
ment of natural resources and public 
lands, particularly wilderness and" wild- 
lands, according to Patrick. The Institute 
will also work to promote the preservation 
of unique and wild places, Patrick said, 
and to integrate an ethic ofienvironmental 
stewardship into the conservative moral 
constructs of our society. 

The Institute will work in habitat 
creation and restoration projects, natural 
resource inventories, environmental edu- 
cation programs, environmental" research, 
and wilderness and, wildlands advocacy. It 
will also sponsor conferences and sym- 
posia on these issues. 

For information write to: 

David D. Patrick, Jr., Director 

Zahniser Institute for Environmental 

Studies 

315 E. College Avenue 

Greenville, IL 62246 

Austin Meredith spotted a reference to 
Thoreau in a New York Times "Critic's , 
Notebook" column of 26 August 1998 (p. 
B8). In "The Weed That's Wowing New 
York," New York chefs are described as 
currendy preferring the common wild 
purslane, the kind Thoreau mentioned in 
the "Economy" chapter of Walden, over 
human-bred domestic varieties. The plant 
has many uses as a garnish, topping, or 
sauce ingredient. Austin notes, however, 
that the Times writer who quotes from 
Walden may have ignored a salient ~ 
ingredient in the context of Thoreau's dis- 
cussion of this plant, as Thoreau recom- 
mends it as a staple within a simple diet, 
rather unlike the haute cuisine in which 
the New York chefs are reviving its use. 

Again from the New York Times (24 Sept. 
1998, p. B9), Mr. Meredith reports on a 
book review by Christopher Lemann- 
Haupt about Chris Goodrich's Roadster, 
which relates the author's experience in 

continued on page 9 



Curator's Column 



Susan Godlewski 



Henley Library, Thoreau Institute: 
Overview 

This is the first of what I expect to be 
regular columns in the TTS Bulletin from 
the Curator to the Thoreau Society mem- 
bership that will deal mainly with the 
research collections and the activities of 
the Henley Library. I am pleased to have a 
regular means of communication with the 
membership. We have embarked on a 
tremendously exciting project and need 
your continued participation to ensure its, 
ongoing success. 

The Thoreau Institute opened with 
much fanfare on June 5th. It was a very 
exciting and satisfVing dav that generated 
much wonderful publicity and goodwill. 
As a result, the subsequent two months 
have been busy with the daily appearance 
of numerous researchers and visitors from 
all over the country. This w 7 eek (July 27th- 
31st) alone, we have had guests from 
Pennsylvania, Washington, Iowa, New 
-Mexico, Texas, Rhode Island, Ohio, 
Florida, and Renteria, Spain as well as 
many visitors from Massachusetts. It is 
extremely gratifying to see such interest in 
the Thoreau Institute and the collections, 
even while we are still unpacking and 
organizing. 

Starting in late September, the staff will 
begin to catalog the research collection uti- 
lizing the OCLC bibliographic utility. For 
those who have access to OCLC, the 
Institute's identifier will be TIW . This is a 
complex project that will take many years 
to accomplish, primarily because of the 
large amount of material to catalog, the 
various formats comprising the collec- 
tions, and the limited staff at the Thoreau 
Institute. Please be patient. We will com- 
plete this task as quickly and efficiently as 
possible. In the meantime, if there are 
materials that you believe are in the collec- 
tion and need to see, please do not hesitate 
to contact me either by telephone at 781- 
259-4730 or by e-mail at Susan. 
Godlewski@walden.org. 

For those who would like to visit in 
person, we are suggesting a call to me to 
make an appointment. The reason is sim- 
ple. If I am on vacation, at a workshop, or 
even just out-to-lunch, there is no one else 



to help you or allow you access to the 
Reading Room or collections. .Also, until 
the collection is organized and cataloged, ' 
it is more efficient, to discuss your research 
needs with me in advance so that I can 
have materials prepared for your arrival or 
refer you to another institution that could 
better satisfy your research needs. The 
Henley Library is open by appointment on 
Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. 
There are no weekend or evening hours. 
The collection is stored in a closed-stack, 
environmentally controlled wing and does 
not circulate beyond the Henley Library. 
Photocopy and photography facilities are 
available. 

Collections 

The Henley Library houses a compre- 
hensive collection of research materials 
relating to Thoreau's writings, life, time 
and contemporaries, as well as materials 
relating to present-day environmental and 
human rights issues. Three collections, 
gifts of former Thoreau Society presidents, 
comprise the core of the research collec- 
tion. These three collections areiowned by 
the Thoreau Society and leased, housed 
and made accessible to scholars by the 
Thoreau Institute. 

The Walter Harding Collection: 
Professor Walter Harding ( 1 9 1 7- 1 996 ) , 
founder of both the Thoreau Society and 
the Princeton Edition of The Writings of 
Henry D. Tlwreau, introduced Thoreau to 
more people around the world than any 
other individual. Donated to the Society 
bv his family, the Harding Collection con- 
sists of approximately 12,000 titles and 
includes books, periodicals, manuscripts, 
offprints, reprints, pamphlets, maps, art, 
records, microfilms, realia, and an exten- 
sive correspondence with leading Thoreau 
scholars and world-renowned figures. 

The Raymond Adams Collection: 
Professor Raymond Adams (1898-1987) 
was a pioneering Thoreau scholar and the 
first president of the Thoreau Society. The 
Adams Collection offers researchers an 
excellent core of Thoreau manuscripts and 
first editions; volumes that Thoreau 



owned and consulted in his research and 
writing; irreplaceable correspondence 
from Thoreau's acquaintances written to 
early biographers, and the entire Thoreau 
collection of biographer H.S. Salt. 

The Roland Robbins Collection: 
Archaeologist, researcher, and wTiter 
Roland Wells Robbins (1908-1987) identi- 
fied, excavated and documented the site of 
Thoreau's Walden house in 1945-46. 
Donated by his family, the Robbins collec- 
tion contains his field notes, photographs 
and artifacts of the Thoreau site, as well as 
material related to his other excavations 
and restorations in the eastern L T nited 
States. Also included are Robbins's 
research materials and drawings for the 
replica of Thoreau's house, soon to be 
placed on the Institute grounds. 

The Thoreau Institute also houses the 
Thoreau Society material that the Concord 
Free Public Library stored and made avail- 
able to researchers for the Society for a 
number of y%ars. Included in this grouping ( 
is the priceless Maxham daguerreotype as 
well as significant manuscript holdings. In 
addition, the book collection from the 
Thoreau Lyceum can be found in the 
Thoreau Institute's Education Center. 

Next issue: The latest acquisition by the 
Thoreau Institute: The Scott and Helen 
Nearing Papers. . 



I think that the change to some 
higher color in a leaf is an evidence 
that it has arrived at a late and 
more perfect and final maturity, 
answering to the maturity of fruits, 
and not to that of green leaves, 
etc., etc., which merely serve a 
purpose. The word "ripe" is 
thought by some to be derived 
from the verb "to reap," according 
to which that is ripe which is ready 
to be reaped. The fall of the leaf is 
preceded by a ripe old age. 

Journal, 12 November 1858 



Hurry Up or Wait: Oliver's "Going to Walden" 



John Chamberlain 



[Editor's note: John Chamberlain is an 
English teacher in Lexington, MA, who has 
developed a curriculum to introduce mid- 
dle school students to Thoreau. His stu- 
dents' work was on exhibit for the 
Thoreau Institute Grand Opening. Mary 
Oliver's poem is reprinted here, followed " 
by Mr. Chamberlain's commentary.] 



Copyright 1972 by Mary Oliver. Used 
by permission of the Molly Malone Cook 
Literary Agency. 



described by friends: Walden is conve- 
niently close by highway, it provides an 
opportunity for personal reflection — even 
wisdom! — amid its natural beauty, as well 
as a needed getaway to the "clear water" of 
the "cool country." 

Of course, Oliver has the last word. She 
counters with her reasons for not paying 
her "green visit," though really she rede- 
fines what it means to "go to Walden." She 
posits Walden as not just a physical place, 
but as an inner symbol for the simple. and 
mystical awareness of the present. It is a 
place waiting, as philosopher Ken Wilber 



Going to Walden 

by Mary Oliver 

It isn't very far as highways lie. 
I might be back by nightfall, having seen 
The rough pines, and the stones, and the clear 
Friends argue that I might be wiser for it. 
"They do.not hear that far-off Yankee whisper: 
How dull we grow from hurrying here and there! 

Many have gone, and think me 
To miss a day away in the cool country. 
Maybe. But in a book I read and cherish, 
Going to Walden is not so easy a thing 
As a green visit. It is the slow and difficult 
Trick of living, and finding it where you are. 




; /I 



Mary Oliver's poetry is delightful in 
earthy and mystical ways. Her poem 
"Going to Walden" graced the Thoreau 
Institute's Opening Day printed program. 
To those of us who have spent idle time 
this summer or perhaps time idling, I offer 
this analysis of her poem. 

Beginning casually with the pronoun 
"it," the poem's mood moves from con- 
versational phrasing to pointed commen- 
tary as she cites Thoreau. The second stan- 
za goes back to a breezy tone and then 
moves to close with penetrating convic- 
tion. It is these shifts in intensity from the 
social to the mystical that fire this poem. 

The poem is not replete with images of 
nature that often line her poems. Instead, 
'it is a reasoned argument about what it 
means to go to Walden. Within the brief 
space of two six-line stanzas, she conducts 
this debate. Reasons for a physical trip are 



puts it, "always and already". inside of us, 
something to be uncovered by negatingall 
that is "not Walden." The "difficult trick 
of living" is to reveal this Walden, as this 
indestructible, inner sanctuary is easily 
resisted and avoided. 

The distinction between the inner and 
outer Walden is implied in Thoreau's 
words from "Walking": "In wildness is the 
preservation of the world." The word 
"wildness" is often misquoted as "wilder- 
ness." A people in communion with their 
inner wildness will support the preserva- 
tion of their outer wilderness. 

Oliver uses words that contrast to 
create a tension that produces meaning. 
While Walden is "not-far" as a place, the 
"far-off Yankee" Thoreau is distant in time 
and his simplicity far from our awareness. 
The speaker's friends argue and can't hear 
his whisper. We grow dull, not wise or 



clear, as we impatiently hurry about. She 
debates wisdom — is it determined in a 
social group, even amongfriends, or 
defined and tested in a different crucible, 
by oneself? Is wisdom the opposite of folly, 
or broad enough to include it? 

The contrasts continue. There are two 
directions of moving: hurrying horizontally, 
staying on the surface, compared with 
being "where you are," and from there 
traveling inwardly, along a vertical axis. 
There are two speeds: moving fast, doing 
and doing, versus moving slow, just being. 
In travelling, we look for shortcuts — phys- 
ical tricks^so to speak - but the "trick of 
living" is the ongoing metaphysics of 
questioning our untrue states of mind in 
meditative awareness. Lastly, going to 
Walden is not just "a green visit.. .back by 
nightfall," but personal evolution, a 
lifetime's journey. As Oliver says, it's " not 
so easy a thing." Something to reflect on 
during our daily commute. 4 

Notes & Queries, from page 7 

putting together an automobile kit. The 
review compares Roadster unfavorably 
with Walden and Zen and the Art of 
Motorcycle Maintenance? and asserts that 
its author failed to do what Simone Weil 
and Henry Thoreau both succeeded to 
do — they "altered their lives radical!}" to 
explore the true meaning of work." 

Also from Austin Meredith: the second 
annual National- Conference on Civil 
Disobedience will be held January 23 and 
24, 1999, at American University in 
Washington, DC. This conference, geared 
toward the activist, will present numerous 
workshops in the general categories of 
Strategy and Case Studies. The list of pre- 
senters includes Coleman McCarthy, the 
well-known pacifist who wrote for the 
Washington Post for over 25 vears, who will 
give a workshop entitled "How to Radicalize 
Your Life." Registration is S10 prepaid, $15 
at the door. Information and registration 
forms are available from the National 
Conference on Civil Disobedience, 4519 
Alton Place NW, Washington, DC 20016; or 
bv e-mail at nisha@ioc.ore. 



Thoreau and Houghton Mifflin: An Historic Bond Revived 



Wesley T. Mott 



For over a hundred years, the venerable 
publishing firm Houghton Mifflin 
Company has been associated with stan- 
dard editions of the works of Emerson and 
Thoreau and with important bibliographi- 
cal and interpretive studies of the 
Transcendentalists. Until Princeton 
University Press began issuing new critical 
texts in The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau 
with Waldenin 1971, Thoreauvians were 
well served by Houghton Mifflin's 20-vol- 
ume Walden or Manuscript Edition of The 
Writings of Henry David Thoreau ( 1906). 

Now an exciting new Thoreau Society 
project reunites Henry Thoreau with his 
historic publisher. Beginning with three 
titles in Spring 1999, Houghton Mifflin, in 
partnership with the Thoreau Society, will 
publish a series of books presenting the 
thoughts of Thoreau on a variety of 



important topics, some with which we 
readily associate him, some perhaps sur- 
prising even to his longtime admirers. The 
first three topics and their editors, all 
Society members, are Education (Martin 
Bickman), Mountains (J. Parker Huber), 
and Science (Laura Dassow Walls). Future 
topics will include Freedom/Slavery (Jeff 
Cramer), Land (Joe Valentine), and Water 
(Robert France). Each book will include an 
introduction by the expert volume editor 
as well as a preface by an outside authority. 
"How many a man has dated a new era* 
in his life from the reading of a book," 
Thoreau wrote in Walden. The thematic 
focus of these compact, inviting books is 
designed to appeal to the Thoreau afi- 
cionado as well as to attract new readers. 
An engineer, poet, teacher, naturalist, lec- 
turer, and political activist, Thoreau truly 



had several lives to lead, and each one 
speaks forcefully to our day. Selections will 
be drawn both from familiar published 
works and from less well-known lectures, 
letters, and journals. 

Titles and editors for this series have 
been selected by the Thoreau Society 
Publications Committee: Tom Harris, Ron 
Hoag, Karen Merrill, and Wes Mott, with 
help from Kathi Anderson, Brad Dean, 
Joel Myerson, and Beth Witherell and with 
the guidance of Houghton Mifflin senior 
editor Harry Foster. Royalties from the 
series will go to support the operations of 
the Society. Look for announcements of 
publication and new titles in future issues 
of the TSB. 



Book Review: Encyclopedia of American Poetry 



Joel Myerson 



Eric L. Haralson, ed. Encyclopedia of 
American Poetry. Chicago: Fitzroy 
Dearborn, 1998. xiii, 536 pp. $95.00. 

In recent years there has been a spate of 
encyclopedias and dictionaries of 
American literature and its genres. Most 
are disappointing collections of previous- 
ly-available materials, and few are as good 
as Wesley T. Mott's Biographical 
Dictionary of Transcendentalism and 
Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism (both 
Greenwood Press, 1996). It is "therefore 
with pleasure I report that the Encyclopedia 
of American Poetry is one of those few, 
good collections. 

* The genesis for this book was the 
Library of America's two-volume edition 
of American Poetry: The Nineteenth 
Century (edited by John Hollander, 1993), 
for Which this book was planned as-a 
companion volume (all page references for 
the-poetry cited here are to the Library of 
America text). Not all of the Library of 
America authors are included, but most 
are, including such summary chapters as 
those on spirituals, American Indian 
poetry and songs and ballads. Nearly all 
our favorite Transcendentalists are here, 



including Bronson Alcott, Charles 
Timothy Brooks, Ellery Channing, 
Christopher Pearse Cranch, Emerson, 
Margaret Fuller, Thoreau, and Jones Very; 
also included are the usual suspects, such 
as Holmes, Longfellow, and Whittier. 
There is good coverage of minorities and 
women (though Caroline Sfurgis Tappan 
fails to make- this book, just as she failed to 
be included in the Library of America). 
The contributors are of a high quality, 
such as Jeffrey Steele on Fuller, Helen 
Deese on Very, and Elizabeth Hall 
Witherell on Thoreau. The entries contain 
both biographical information and critical 
interpretations of the poetry, usually 
including general comments about the 
major themes and directions of an 
author's career. Even authors not usually 
thought of for their poetry-such as 
Hawthorne or Melville-are included. The 
entries end with suggestions for further 
reading. 

Witherell's essay on Thoreau continues 
her series of fine, intuitive works estab- 
lishing the case for serious consideration 
of Thoreau as a poet. As she reminds us, 
Thoreau "served his literary apprentice^ 
ship as a poet, composing almost three- 



quarters of his 200 poems . . . before 
1845," when he began writing A Week. 
Witherell describes the phases of 
Thoreau's poetic career and relates them 
to his prose works (A Week begins 
Thoreau's "apprenticeship in prose," just * 
as Walden "announced to the world that 
he had found his voice in prose"). This is 
an ideal short but informative summary of 
Thoreau's poetic goals and career. 

Anyone interested in nineteenth-centu- 
ry American poetry will enjoy this book: it 
is an excellent reference work and even 
holds the potential for enjoyable browsing. 

. Joel Myerson 
University of South Carolina 



Each more melodious note I hear 
Brings this reproach to me, 
That I alone afford the ear, 
Who would the music he. 

HDT 



II 



Additions to the 
|Thoreau Bibliography 



Michael Berger 




Fresonke, Kris. "Thoreau and the Design 
of Dissent." Religion and the Arts: A 
Journal from Boston College!:! (1998): 
221-241. 

"Improving the Nature of Walden Pond." 
Erosion Control (Nov. -Dec. 1998). 
Contributor received article from an 
Internet listserv, without author or 
page numbers; suggests libraries in 
major metropolitan areas may get the 
magazine. 

Johnson, William, Jr. What Thoreau Said: 
"Walden" and the Unsayable. Moscow: 
U of Idaho P, 1991. 

. What Thoreau Said: "Walden" 

and the Unsayable. Review: American 
Literature 70, no. 3 (1998): 672-673. 

Kingsolver, Barbara. "The Forest in the 
Seeds." In High Tide in Tuscon: Essays 
from Now or Never, 236-42. New York: 
HarperPerennial, 1996. A vibrant and 
insightful appreciation of Thoreau's 
Dispersion of Seeds by a renowned nov- 
elist and essayist who has pursued 
advanced studies in ecology. "Faith in a 
. Seed is infused with Thoreau's delight, 
his meticulous curiosity and his inspir- 
ing patience. Across the silence of 125 
years, during which an unforeseeable 
glut of hurry has descended, he exhorts 
us to slow down and take notice, to 
learn how to watch seeds become trees. 
. . . What a life it must have been, to 
seize time for this much wonder. If only 
we could recover faith in a seed — and 
in all the other complicated marvels 
that can't fit in a sound bite. Then we 
humans might truly know the glory of 
knowing our place." 

Littell, Alan. "Walking Cape Cod's 
Beaches in the Footsteps of Thoreau." 
Home News Tribune (East Brunswick, 
New Jersey), 20 September, 1998. 

Lerhieux, Pierre. "Uncivil Disobedience." 
Liberty 8, no. 6 (1995): 43 - 45. 

Marshall, Ian. "Contact! Contact! A Walk 
to Thoreau's Ktaadn." Chapter in Story 
Line: Exploring the Literature of the 



Appalachian Trail. UP of Virginia, 
1998. 

Mulloney, Stephen. Traces of Thoreau: A 
Cape Cod Journey. Boston: 
Northeastern UP, 1998. 

Schofield, Edmund. "Henry & Me: From 
Worcester to Walden to Worcester in 
the Footsteps of Henry David 
Thoreau." Worcester (Massachusetts) 
Magazine, 3-9 June„1998, 10-15. 

Shay, Kevin J. "Preserving Life in the 
Woods at Walden Pond." Dallas 
Morning News, 3 May 1998. A travel 
piece on Thoreau related locales. 

Thoreau, Henry D. The Maine Woods. 
Portland, ME: The Ascensius Press, 
1998. 238pp. Only 50 copies published. 
32 cm., bound in full green goatskin, 
blind-stamped rules on side, spine in 
gilt, binding by Gray Parrot, set in 
Linotype Bulmer, illustrated with 5 pen 
and ink drawings by Jon Luoma, print- 
ed from line blocks. The paper is hand- 
made,by McGregor & Vinzaini. 
Slipcased in a box made from Maine 
• white pine. This will be the most typo- 
graphically elaborate edition of a work 
by Thoreau published to date. The edi- 
tion is already part sold, though no 
prospectus has yet been prepared. It is 
anticipated that the entire edition will 
go out of print quickly, at the price of 
$1500 per copy. Interested buyers may 
contact Wilsey Rare Books: phone 
(914) 657-7057; fax (914) 657-2366; e- 
mail <erd@ulster.net>; Web site at 
http://www.clark.net/pub/wilsey. 

Van Anglen, Kevin. "Reading 

Transcendentalist Texts Religiously: 
Emerson, Thoreau, and the Myth of 
Secularization." In Seeing Into the Life of 
Things: Essays on Literature and-. 
Religious Experience, edited by John L. 
Mahoney, 152-70^ New York: Fordham 
UP, 1998. 

. Simplify, Simplify and Other 

Quotations from Henry David Thoreau. 
Review: Etudes Anglaises 51, no. 1 



(1998): 114-115. 
"Walden Revisited." American Way, 1 July 
1998, 64-69. A photo-essay in the 
American Airlines magazines. 
Photography by Doug Merriam. 

We are indebted to the following for 
information sent in for this bulletin: ?. 
Austin (Rochester, NY), B. Dean, T. 
Harris, P. Huber, J. Moldenhauer, R. 
Schneider, K. Shay, K. Van Anglen, R. 
Winslow III, and B. Witherell. Please 
keep Michael Berger (7823 Shadowhill 
Way, Cincinnati, OH 45242; e-mail 
<bergermb@email.uc.edu>; fax 513- 
-791-5180) informed of items he has 
missed and new items as they appear. 
If possible, please also include or send a 
copy of the book, article, or other item, 
so that it can be preserved in the 
Thoreau Society's collection at the 
Thoreau Institute. 



Silence is the universal 
refuge, the sequel to all 
dull discourses and all foolish 
acts, a balm to our every cha- 
grin, as welcome after satiety 
as after disappointment; that 
background which the painter 
may not daub, be he master 
or bungler, and which, howev- 
er awkward a figure we may 
have made in the foreground, 
remains ever our inviolable 
asylum, where no indignity 
can assail, no personality dis- 
turb us. 

A Wge/c on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers 



Calendar 



January 




Massachusetts 
24 Sunday 



4:00 p.m. 



Thoreau's Transcendental Natural History 
Elizabeth Witherell .. 
Concord Museum 

In March 1853, prompted by a ques- 
tion in a form letter from the secretary of 
the American Association for the 
Advancement of Science, Thoreau charac- 
terized himself and the researches in 
natural history that he had begun just a 
few years before and that he continued 
into the winter of 1861. 

"The fact is," he wrote in his Journal, 
"I am a mystic-a transcendentalist--& a 
natural philosopher to boot." Beth 
Witherell, Editor-in-Chief of the Thoreau 
Edition and President of the Thoreau 
Society, will'talk about how Thoreau 
grounded the "word for Nature" that he 
spoke and wrote in his practice of 
Transcendental natural history. 

Sponsored by the Thoreau Society, 
Thoreau Institute, and Concord Museum. 
Free and open to the public. 



February 




Massachusetts 
24 Wednesday 



7:30 p.m. 



"Nature in Words" 
Christopher W. Leahy 

Writing about the natural world is 
fraught with pitfalls. It lends itself all too 
readily to sentimentality, solemnity, and 
one-note arias of awe. 

Author/naturalist Christopher Leahy 
will read some examples of what he consid- 
ers to be the best and the worst of the genre. 

Christopher W. Leahy, Director of 
Massachusetts Audubon's Center for 
Biological Conservation, is author of 
Birdwatcher's Companion (Hill and Wang), 
First Guide to Insects (Houghton Mifflin), 
An Introduction to Massachusetts Birds 
(Mass. Audubon),' An Introduction to 
Massachusetts Insects (Mass. Audubon), The 
Nature of Massachusetts (Addison- Wesley), 
and many popular articles on all aspects of 
natural history. 



Nov. 12. The first sprin- 
kling of snow, which for a 
short time whitens the 
ground in spots. 

I do not know how to 
distinguish between our 
waking life and a dream. 
Are we not always living the 
life that we imagine we are? 
Fear creates danger, and 
courage dispels it. 

There was a remarkable 
sunset, I think the 25th of 
October. The sunset sky 
reached quite from west to 
east, and it was the most 
varied in its forms and colors 
of any that I remember to 
have seen. At one time the 
clouds were most softly and 
delicately rippled, like the 
ripple-marks on sand. But it 
was hard for me to see its 
beauty then, when my mind 
was filled with Captain 
Brown. So great a wrong 
as his fate implied 
overshadowed all beauty in 
the world. 

Journal, 1 2 November 1859 



y%**»'>c£«**« 



The Thoreau Society Bulletin is published quarterly 
by the Thoreau Society. 

Editor, Michael Berger 

Board of Directors: 

Kenneth Basile; Ronald Bosco; Robert Galvin; 
Joseph Gilbert; Jayne Gordon; Ronald W. Hoag, 
Treasurer; John Mack; Wesley Mott; Joel 
Myerson, Secretary; Thomas Potter; Daniel 
Shealy; Shirley Van Clay; Elizabeth Witherell, 
President 

Executive Director Tom Harris 

Bookkeeper Karen Kashian 

Graphic Designer/Illustrator Karen Merrill 

Shop Manager Jon Fadiman 

The Thoreau Society, Inc., is an international 
not-for-profit organization founded in 1941 to 
stimulate interest in and foster education about 
the life, works, and philosophy of Henry David 
Thoreau. 

To fulfill its mission, the Society: 
<p supports programming for the Thoreau 
Institute, in partnership with the Walden 
Woods Project; 
«p sponsors various Thoreau-related excursions 

and events throughout the year; 
*8* owns and operates the Thoreau Society 
Shop at Walden Pond, a visitor's center 
with a bookstore and gift shop located at 
the Walden Pond State Reservation; 
«j» holds a four-day annual gathering each July 

in Concord, Massachusetts; and 
«p publishes the Thoreau Society Bulletin, 
Concord Saunterer, and other Thoreau- 
related material. 
Membership in the Society includes subscriptions 
to its two publications, The Concord Saunterer 
(published each autumn) and the Thoreau Society 
Bulletin (published quarterly). Society members 
receive a 10% discount on all merchandise pur- 
chased from the Thoreau Society Shop at Walden 
Pond and advance notice about Society programs, 
including the annual gathering. Contact the 
Thoreau Society administrative offices in Lincoln, 
Massachusetts, for membership information 
(address below). 

Thoreau Society Directory 

Communications relating to The Concord 
Saunterer should be addressed to Ronald Wesley 
Hoag, Thoreau Society, Inc., Department of 
English, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 
27858-4353, U.S.A.; tel: (252) 328-6580; fax: (252) 
328-4889; e-mail: enhoag@ecuvm.cis.ecu.edu. 

Inquiries about merchandise (including books 
and mail-order items) should be directed to Jon 
Fadiman, Shop Manager, Thoreau Society Shop at 
Walden Pond, 915 Walden Street, Concord, MA 
01742-4511, U.S.A.; tel: (781) 259-4770; fax: (978) 
287 7 5620; e-mail: Shop@walden.org. ■ - 

All other inquiries and communications should be 
directed to the Thoreau Society, Inc., 44 Baker 
Farm, Lincoln, MA 01773-3004, U.S.A.; tel: (781) 
259-4750; fax: (781) 259-4760; e-mail: 
ThoreauSociety@walden.org. 

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